housing

In the first ever visit by a serving Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to arrive in Australia this month as part of an international tour aimed at shoring up Israel’s reputation abroad.

The visit has actually attracted attention — but not the kind Netanyahu would like.

Protesters gathered outside Melbourne’s Town Hall on February 7 ahead of a volatile council meeting to discuss proposed changes to council laws that would effectively make homelessness illegal in the community.

Camping is currently banned in Melbourne if a person uses a tent, car, caravan or other structure. Councillors voted 5–4 to broaden the definition of camping, a move legal experts say could lead to rough sleepers being forced to the outskirts of Melbourne or fined for sleeping with nothing more than "a cardboard box and blanket".

Sydney may be in the grip of an apartment boom, but the construction of thousands of units across the city has done little to put a lid on rents, according to an analysis of the latest rental data.

Apartment living became more expensive in Sydney in the year to September 2016, after rent increases in all but three of the city's local government areas, according to the NSW Tenants' Union Rent Tracker report.

Tenants' Union advocacy and research officer Leo Patterson Ross said: "Apartment rents are growing faster than house rents at the moment."

Melbourne City Council sent 75 riot police to evict 10 rough sleepers who had been camping outside Flinders Street Station on February 1.

Lord Mayor Robert Doyle had previously threatened to remove rough sleepers from the streets of the CBD and council officers had taken away the property of homeless people.

Despite declaring that housing affordability would be a key priority of her government, the new NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian has squibbed the challenge of any real action to improve the lot of first home buyers and renters in New South Wales.

Berejiklian was unanimously elected premier on January 23 after former leader Mike Baird resigned in the face of widespread opposition to his neoliberal policies.

She immediately named housing affordability as “the biggest concern people have across the state”.

The first time residents in Newtown — one of the oldest suburbs in Sydney — heard of a new Westconnex tunnel route under their homes was when a couple of test drill sites were set up in the neighbourhood. They immediately responded with a series of early morning protests at these sites.

Then an article in the November 11 Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Mike Baird Coalition government had decided to bring forward the construction of an eight-lane tunnel to link the M4 and M5 tollways.

Victoria Police has evicted homeless people from empty properties in Bendigo Street, Collingwood, that had been acquired by the previous government for the now-cancelled East West Link.

The government said the homeless people had to be evicted so it could give the houses to homeless people.

Family First Senator Bob Day finally resigned from the Senate on November 1 “effective immediately”, in a major setback for the federal government's plan to revive the controversial, anti-union Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC).

Day first announced his intention to resign on October 17, after his housing businesses were placed into liquidation. He then suggested he might stay on until November so he could vote on the ABCC bill and other legislation.

A police action on October 28 evicted occupants of Bendigo Street houses, which had been compulsorily acquired by the former coalition government for the East West Link project that was later scrapped by Labor.

Joel from the Homeless Persons Union of Victoria told Green Left Weekly the eviction was in violation of an agreement with the state government that the houses would be vacated and the keys handed over to assigned occupants of public housing.

The house which was seized was waiting to be occupied by First Nations occupants, he said.

There are 105,000 homeless people in Australia. In NSW and Victoria there has been a 20% increase in the rate of homelessness in the past decade. This shows that homelessness is a structural issue, one that charity is not capable of fixing.

The current homelessness services are incredibly scarce and designed to fail anyone in need of accommodation.

Pages

Subscribe to housing